Archive for November, 2014

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light – Derek Landy

It is August 28th 2014.

I have just finished the last Skulduggery Pleasant book.

I’m not posting this for a while, because it contains spoilers, and I want to give people some time to read it. But I have some thoughts that I need to get out of my head. This is not a review of sorts, it’s just me babbling a little.

Let me just preface this by saying that I liked this book, and I love this series. It is fun, epic, and brilliantly plotted with fantastic continuity. The characters are well-developed and the humour is fabulous and you should all read it read it read it. The Dying of the Light was brilliant, and probably deserving of a full starred rating, but I will still touch on stuff that I personally (and this may just be me) thought could be improved.

The Supposed Tears

Perhaps my heart is made of steel, perhaps there is something wrong with me, but that ending was not nearly as sad as we were led to believe. Yes, it was shocking. And perhaps when we talk about the pain that book causes we talk about how we are constantly misled by the author to believe certain tragedies occur that actually don’t.

It was definitely clever, and I applaud it for that, but perhaps too easy. There is so much potential for new story, and perhaps that is done on purpose for extra stories/new books to come in the future, but at the moment, I don’t feel much conclusion. I want to know where our characters really ended up after the battle.

But maybe I’m just in denial of the series ending. I’m not sure yet.

The Ending

I was pretty much convinced that it was the most perfect book in existence, but then the ending happened, and I don’t know, it irked me. It must have irked me personally, as I know it didn’t annoy a lot of people. But honestly, and here’s the blunt truth of it all, Valkyrie and Skulduggery, as a romantic relationship, makes me uncomfortable.

He is old. Really old. That isn’t my problem with their relationship, though. He is far more mature than her. He is, mentally, an adult. He had a wife and kids. He has been through a whole lot more than she has, because of age and experience and just life in general. His mental age is around thirty, in my mind.

She is a teenage girl. She has had one boyfriend her entire life, and that wasn’t a very serious boyfriend either. She is not experienced. Yes, she’s gone through a lot of physical and emotional pain, but mentally, she is eighteen. She acts eighteen. For all intents and purposes, she is eighteen.

And there is my problem with the relationship. He is too old for her. He’s an adult, and has been for a long time, and she’s barely there.

So that’s why I don’t like the ending. I know not everyone feels that way, and I know opinions on characters’ maturity and whatnot differ, but that’s how I read it. I don’t know if it was planned from the beginning, or if it was implemented once Derek Landy saw the massive support in the Valduggery fandom. Giving romance to a relationship that 98% of your fanbase supports is a sure way to get approval on your book, and I am sure that I’m only annoyed by this because I’ve been in that 2% for years. I could see the path being laid down towards this particular relationship and I still chose to ignore it. But it’s far too late and I’m far too stubborn to change my mind now.

The Fourth Wall

While I don’t think references to the fans is a bad thing, I’ve never been particularly fond of it, either. I think it depends on the reference, and whether it is believable or not. But sometimes, when I can just feel an author throwing in a joke or a line that I know is there to make people go “oh look! the thing! he said the thing!”, it pulls me out of the world. Not breaking the fourth wall, but maybe shaking it. This all depends on context. Sometimes the little nods were perfect, more than perfect, and sometimes they threw me off a bit.

Death

This is a series that has never shied away from killing off characters. This ending reminded me that I was truly reading a middle-grade series.

I was expecting more death. Maybe I am too jaded that way. But if you’r going to promise for a book to tear out your heart, then you better live up to it.

Overall

Yes, a little disappointing. But it’s definitely personal problems that are influencing this choice. The book’s execution was very good, and the plot was good, and everything was very fun and cool and action-y. I put too many expectations on this book, but that’s what happens when its the ninth one. I was expecting more conclusion, more character development, and there’s only so much one can plausibly do.

Still my favourite middle-grade series though. Well, unless Blood of Olympus is completely utterly fabulous.